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Wigilia
Wigilia
(Polish pronunciation: [viˈɡilʲa]) is the traditional Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
vigil supper in Poland, held on December 24. The term is often applied to the whole day of the Christmas
Christmas
Eve, extending further into Pasterka, the midnight Mass held at Roman Catholic churches all over Poland
Poland
and in large Polish communities worldwide at midnight preceding the Christmas
Christmas
Day. In this usage, the supper itself is rather called "wieczerza" or "wieczerza wigilijna", using an Old Polish word meaning "dinner" or "large supper", stemming from Proto-Indo-European root *vesper - "evening". The Last Supper translates into Polish as "ostatnia wieczerza". The word Wigilia
Wigilia
derives from the Latin
Latin
verb vigilare, "to be on watch", and literally means "eve". The feasting traditionally begins once the First Star has been sighted (usually by children) in the sky at dusk (around 5 p.m.).[1] Therefore, Christmas
Christmas
is also sometimes called "Gwiazdka" (the little star, referring to the Star of Bethlehem).

Contents

1 Traditions and customs

1.1 The evening Supper

1.1.1 The Shepherd's Mass

1.2 The Christmas
Christmas
breakfast

2 See also 3 References

Traditions and customs[edit]

Christmas
Christmas
tree in a Polish home

Children usually decorate the Christmas
Christmas
tree on this day (if it has not been set up before). Often a bundle of hay is placed under the tablecloth or in each of the four corners of the room to symbolize the fact that Jesus
Jesus
was born in a manger. As a game, children would remove pieces of straw from under the table. Green would mean a year of wealth or possibly a marriage, while a black piece of hay would mean bad luck much like the "piece of coal" represents in modern Christmas
Christmas
lore. The drawing of hay was only for fun and was rarely paid attention to. Various other divinations are semi-seriously practiced such as hiding a nut (or another small food piece) in a cake and dividing it among family members. Whoever finds the nut inside his portion is guaranteed to have a successful year. Another tradition practiced by some, is to leave one extra place-setting for an "unexpected guest". This is to celebrate the tradition of hospitality and inclusion. The empty seat is left open just in case a traveler, family member, or a friend knocks on the door, so there would be a place for them to join in the celebrations. Family members begin the celebration with a prayer and breaking of the Christmas
Christmas
wafer (opłatek - symbolizing the bread eaten daily — our day-to-day common life; very old Christian tradition of sharing bread) and wishing each other good fortune in the upcoming new year. (After the prayer, usually done by the man of the house, the opłatek is broken and pieces are given to everyone attending the table. From there, everyone breaks off a piece of their opłatek, and shares it with everyone else, wishing luck and joy in the upcoming year, for Christ has been born. This wish is usually finalized by a kiss on the cheek.) Readings from the Bible
Bible
concerning the nativity of Jesus
Jesus
are practiced in more religious households. In the countryside, it is customary to feed livestock (though not dogs, cats, and other pets) with the wafer, as the animals of the household are to be treated as people that day and are traditionally believed to speak with a human voice at midnight. The evening Supper[edit] After the First Star appears in the sky and after sharing the Christmas
Christmas
wafer (opłatek), the Supper begins. A traditional Christmas meal in Poland
Poland
includes fish dishes and Borscht
Borscht
(beetroot soup) with Uszka
Uszka
(tortellini). Fish provides a main component of the Christmas Eve meal across Poland; since 1940 more popular are carp fillet, carp in aspic, "carp Jewish-style" (gefilte fish) etc. Wigilia
Wigilia
is observed as a Black Fast
Black Fast
meaning that most Poles abstain from eating meat on this day. Many households also prepare a great variety of special Christmas
Christmas
rollmops, matjas herring, poppy seed cakes (makowiec), dried fruit compote and other delicacies including edible Christmas ornaments. Common dishes are various fruits (dried apples, plums, apricots, dates, etc.) and salads. Regional dishes include żurek, siemieniotka (in Silesia), mushroom soup, different salads, pierogi filled with cheese and potatoes as well as cooked dried mushrooms and cabbage (kapusta) or cabbage and yellow peas; stuffed cabbage with mushrooms and rice gołąbki (cabbage rolls), kluski with poppyseed, kutia, and makówki (in Silesia). It is still believed that whatever happens on Wigilia
Wigilia
affects the following year. So, if a quarrel should arise, it foretells a quarrelsome and troublesome year. The number of country courses is traditionally established to be either twelve or an odd number (in Silesia); Twelve is symbolic of the number of months in the year as well as to celebrate the twelve disciples of Jesus. The Shepherd's Mass[edit] Some families as well as individual worshippers attend the traditional midnight mass/Shepherd's Mass (pasterka), where Christmas
Christmas
carols are also sung. A major part of the Wigilia
Wigilia
festivities is the opening of gifts. The children often open their gifts and hand out the gifts for the adults from under the tree. The gift-giver in Polish tradition is the Gwiazdka – Saint Nicholas' feminine counterpart – or the Gwiazdor (masculine), which is either a Pagan tradition, or represents the little Star of Bethlehem. Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas
brings gifts on December 6. However this varies and in some families Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas
is said to bring presents both on the 6th and on Christmas. The Christmas
Christmas
breakfast[edit] Christmas Day
Christmas Day
is a national holiday in Poland
Poland
and most Poles spend the day feasting with their family. Followed by Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
(Wigilia) there are two more days of Christmas
Christmas
celebration. Christmas
Christmas
breakfast often consists of scrambled eggs, cold-cuts served with horseradish sauce, smoked or fried salmon, marinated salads, coffee, tea and cakes, i.e. poppy seed roll, gingerbread (piernik) cake and cookies, kutia, etc. See also[edit]

List of dining events

References[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Christmas
Christmas
food of Poland.

^ "Wigilja" at www.wigilja.com

Wigilia
Wigilia
article from the Polish American Center Wigilia
Wigilia
article from Pope John Paul II Polish Center Wigilia
Wigilia
article from the Polish Museum of America[permanent dead link]

v t e

Christmas

Christmas
Christmas
Eve Children's Day Boxing Day Nochebuena Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas
Day St. Stephen's Day Sol Invictus Yule

In Christianity

Biblical Magi

Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Shepherds Advent Angel Gabriel Annunciation Annunciation
Annunciation
to the shepherds Baptism of the Lord Bethlehem Christingle Christmastide Epiphany Herod the Great Jesus Joseph Mary Massacre of the Innocents

flight into Egypt

Nativity Fast Nativity of Jesus

in art in later culture

Nativity scene Saint Nicholas Star of Bethlehem Twelfth Night

In folklore

Badalisc La Befana Belsnickel Caganer Christkind Ded Moroz Elves Father Christmas Grýla Jack Frost Joulupukki Knecht Ruprecht Korvatunturi Krampus Mikulás Miner's figure Mrs. Claus Nisse/Tomte North Pole Old Man Winter Olentzero Père Fouettard Père Noël Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Saint Lucy Santa's reindeer Santa's workshop Sinterklaas Tió de Nadal Vertep Yule
Yule
Cat Yule
Yule
Lads Zwarte Piet

Gift-bringers

Saint Nicholas Santa Claus List of Christmas
Christmas
gift-bringers by country

Traditions

Advent
Advent
calendar Advent
Advent
candle Advent
Advent
wreath Boar's Head Feast Candle arches Cards Carols by Candlelight Cavalcade of Magi Crackers Decorations Events and celebrations Feast of the Seven Fishes Flying Santa Google Santa Tracker Hampers Las Posadas Letters Lights Lord of Misrule Markets Meals and feasts Moravian star Nine Lessons and Carols NORAD Tracks Santa Nutcrackers

dolls

Ornaments Parades

list

Piñatas Pyramids Räuchermann Seals Secret Santa Spanbaum Stamps Stockings Tree Twelve Days Wassailing Windows Yule
Yule
Goat Yule
Yule
log

By country

Australia and New Zealand Denmark Germany Hawaii Hungary Iceland Indonesia Ireland Mexico Norway Philippines Poland Romania Russia Scotland Serbia Sweden Ukraine

Music

Carols

list

Hit singles UK Hit singles US Music books

Carols for Choirs The Oxford Book of Carols The New Oxford Book of Carols Piae Cantiones

Other media

Films Poetry

"Old Santeclaus with Much Delight" "A Visit from St. Nicholas"

Television

specials Yule
Yule
Log

In modern society

Advent
Advent
Conspiracy Black Friday (partying) Black Friday (shopping) Bronner's Christmas
Christmas
Wonderland Christmas
Christmas
club Christmas
Christmas
creep Christmas Day
Christmas Day
(Trading) Act 2004 Christmas
Christmas
Lectures Christmas
Christmas
Mountains Christmas
Christmas
truce Controversies Cyber Monday Economics Giving Tuesday El Gordo Holiday season In July In August Leon Day NBA games NFL games Puritan New England American Civil War Post-War United States Running of the Santas SantaCon Santa's Candy Castle Small Business Saturday Super Saturday Virginia O'Hanlon White Christmas Winter festivals WWE Tribute to the Troops Xmas

Food and drink

Dinner

Joulupöytä Julebord Kūčios Réveillon Twelve-dish supper Smörgåsbord Wigilia

Sweets

bûche de Noël Cake Candy cane Cookies Fruitcake Gingerbread Kourabiedes Melomakarono Mince pie Pavlova Pecan pie Pumpkin pie Pudding Rosca de reyes Szaloncukor Turrón

Soup

Menudo

Sauce

Cranberry sauce

Beverages

Apple cider Champurrado Eggnog Mulled wine

Smoking Bishop

Ponche crema

Dumpling

Hallaca Tamale

Meat

Ham Roast goose Romeritos Turkey Stuffing

.